off to the gold coast…

Last Sunday, a friend told me to have a good time in the Gold Coast and to spend lots of money. So, I figured if I spent too much money, it would be her fault.   : )    No, really, though, I didn’t overspend myself too badly, and I did have a great time.

I arrived at the Emerald Airport too early, especially as the flight was delayed by half an hour. So, I had plenty of time to wander around the small airport, though there wasn’t a ton to see. The paintings on the wall and metal statuary were quite interesting, though. Then I ordered a cappuccino, and took it to a table. You know, when you’re out in an airport, you don’t really think about it… but you are trying to act cool and nonchalant, as you wander around, lugging your carry-on bags. Ever thought about this?

So, for those of you who didn’t know, I’ve had a pretty bad cough for the last two weeks. I will never be certain if I coughed, or if I inhaled cocoa powder, but I do know one thing. I sat down at my table, took a small sip of my drink, and sprayed foam and chocolate all over the table. So much for coolness. I didn’t look around too closely, so I didn’t see or hear anyone laugh. Then I’d like to see how the rest of you would’ve done, trying to drink the rest of your coffee, with a very nonchalant air, as if nothing happened. Sigh.

Arriving in Brisbane, I found my friends with no trouble, despite it having been many years since we last saw each other. Originally, we met when I was about 15 years old, in Michigan, where they were living for several years. I was visiting my cousins for a good portion of the summer, between sessions of camp, and the Mortons had their first child in the United States. Now, here I was in the Gold Coast, staying with them, and rooming with Amelia, who was a baby when I last knew her. How crazy is that?

Staying with family of theirs, we were able to enjoy the sunshine on the canal behind the house, watching the kids feed the ducks or go fishing (using bread for bait, mind you). On the rooming side of things, Amelia and I shared a room, with a funky bathroom to get used to. Do they have a lot of these down here? We were always worried that the water from the shower would run out the door, but it never did.

After a round of shopping, on Monday, we stopped at a seafood place where you could order fresh seafood to take outside and eat on the beach. And when I say fresh, I do mean fresh. They were selling the raw seafood on the other side of the shop, and it sure smelled like raw fish in there. I ordered calamari rings and chips, which were delicious. Yes, I know they look like onion rings, but they aren’t. My recollection is that despite liking calamari, in the U.S., it’s often overly chewy. I would definitely recommend this place. Nothing rubbery about these calamari rings.

So, we took our food outside, sat down, and found ourselves being watched closely by an entire flock of seagulls. A bit unnerving, that. If you even looked like you were going to drop something, they would start inching towards you. After a while, the pelicans came in to shore, though I’m glad they weren’t after our food. They were so HUGE, up close, that though I got as close as I could, to take some pictures, I was afraid I might lose an arm if I got too close. Those are not birds to be messed with, though we messed with the gulls aplenty.

After a drive through Surfer’s Paradise, we went to Pacific Fair, another shopping center, where I enjoyed looking at Aussie souvenirs in the Australian Geographic store (thus far, I’ve resisted buying everything for my family), getting a mochaccino from Gloria Jean’s, and noticed that they have Krispy Kreme down here. Who’d-a-thunk-it?

And then back to the house we went, to get ready for dinner. Paul works at Jupiters Casino (it’s also a hotel, I think), so we were going to eat at their buffet restaurant, and get a big discount, since he’s an employee. Now, before anybody freaks, we only got a glimpse of the casino itself, before getting into the restaurant. I didn’t do any gambling.  : )

Now, that was an amazing restaurant. Buffet it may be, but the food was fabulous. This is not Ryan’s or Golden Corral, people. But we were also told that there was no hurry, we could take as long as we wanted, so we had room for a lot more food than we had originally intended.

I do love shrimp, so after my delicious plateful of the regular food, and a bowl of pumpkin soup, I headed back to get some prawns. But then realized that I had never had prawns or shrimp where I had to behead them. I had to ask for Al’s help, and then when I tried it, I’m afraid I squeaked when the brains squirted. Completely grossed out, I let him behead the rest of them for me, but I’d kind of lost my appetite for them, so I didn’t eat any more than the ones I got to start off. I’m trying to imagine life without shrimp, but I’m afraid that if I’d ever had them like this, when I was a kid, I might never have eaten them again. Give me frozen and already prepared, thanks.

And, at last, along came the delightfulness of dessert. We enjoyed eating way too much of that, too, as the chefs had taken care to make so many varieties. But remember, we were there long enough to digest and go have some more! And after this lovely evening, we went home to sleep off the meal. And my week had hardly begun!

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